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By JoAnna Ness, Nov 7 2018 03:45PM

“If you go across any sociological metric of a community, such as homelessness, drug use, or unplanned pregnancies, RISE probably impacts that number in Steuben County in some way,” shared Chris Stackhouse, Executive Director of RISE, Inc. RISE was established to help people live, work, and learn in the community and at home. For individuals with physical and developmental disabilities, navigating the world can be a challenge. RISE steps in to serve these individuals and their families across a large spectrum of needs, from help tying shoes to applying to Trine University. Clients at RISE participate in a variety of activities, including cooking dog treats for a local dog grooming business, taking typing classes in a computer lab to produce a newsletter, and learning about photography. They recently utilized these skills to prepare for RISE to the Occasion, the organization’s annual fundraiser, by taking photos of silent auction items and creating colorful paintings for bidding.

Stackhouse started on the board of RISE in November of 2016, and he transitioned to his role as Executive Director in October of 2017. “What drives me,” said Stackhouse, “is how we support families through taking care of their loved ones.” RISE acts as a community partner, working to improve quality of life and instill hope in people. “During their time of need, we come alongside and help families and our clients navigate tough life choices.” Occasionally this means RISE has stepped up to provide emergency services when needed, but each client’s needs and goals are different. Much of the work at RISE is fueled by witnessing clients make progress towards these goals. “Recently, we’ve seen an uptick in successful job placements in the hospitality industry, so being able to pivot to what industry is in demand has been big,” said Stackhouse.

By JoAnna Ness, Oct 30 2018 12:58PM

The Pleasant Lake Fund approved a grant of $2,500 to purchase equipment for a community built upper-elementary playground. Previously, the playground was outdated and had limited equipment for older students to play. The new equipment provides a safe, modern playground for kids from grades 2-5 to run, jump, and climb so they are mentally rested and ready for success in the classroom. This project was a collaboration of multiple community organizations and volunteer efforts.

By JoAnna Ness, Oct 23 2018 05:13PM

The six 2019 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar finalists have been selected by the Steuben County Community Foundation (SCCF). After reviewing 20 highly competitive applications from the schools serving Steuben County, the committee named six finalists to continue with the four-step selection process.

Jaden Cardoso, Annie Delgadillo, Mason Gaerte, Alyssa Hernandez, Bailey Pelliccia, and Abigail Stoy met on October 16 to complete phase two which included an interview success workshop and an impromptu essay. The final step for these young community leaders will include an interview with the selection committee and a presentation of their personal portfolio.

Fremont High School senior Jaden Cardoso plans to attend Grace College to study mathematics and computing. Angola High School senior Annie Delgadillo plans to attend Indiana University to major in environmental and sustainability studies. Angola High School senior Mason Gaerte plans to attend Butler University to study biology. Angola High School senior Alyssa Hernandez is undecided in her college/university choice, but plans to study pre-med. Angola High School senior Bailey Pelliccia plans to attend the University of Notre Dame to study biological sciences. Angola High School senior Abigail Stoy plans to attend Purdue University to study kinesiology/physical Therapy.

“SCCF is honored to facilitate this scholarship for a hard-working student in our community that exemplifies high academic and extra-curricular achievements,” said Jacqui Gentile, program officer.

The Lilly Scholar recipient will be announced in December. SCCF awards a $1,000 Circle of Friends scholarship to the other five finalists.

Since 1998, Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) has awarded this four-year scholarship (which includes a $900 annual stipend for books and required equipment) to a Steuben County student to attend the Indiana college or university of their choice. ICI delegates the selection process to SCCF who utilizes a committee of community volunteers to facilitate the process.

ICI is a nonprofit corporation that represents regionally accredited degree granting, nonprofit, private colleges and universities in the state. The scholarships are the result of a statewide Lilly Endowment initiative to help Hoosier students reach higher levels of education. Indiana ranks among the lowest states in the percentage of residents over the age of 25 with a bachelor’s degree. There are 143 scholarships awarded statewide; the number awarded in each county is based on the number of fulltime residents in each county. Steuben County was offered one award in 2018.

By JoAnna Ness, Oct 17 2018 08:00AM

The Town of Orland received $5,000 from the Orland Community Fund at Steuben County Community Foundation for the replacement of the roof of the Orland Depot Building. The building is important to the town’s history as it was used from 1905-1917 for the St. Joseph Valley Line Railroad. Currently the building stores town decorations and materials. However, the future plan for the building is to develop a museum of artifacts from settlers in the town. Without the roof repair, water damage would have permanently destroyed the building.

By JoAnna Ness, Oct 10 2018 08:00PM

The Hamilton Police Department was able to add lifesaving equipment to its squad cars thanks to a grant from the Hamilton Fund at Steuben County Community Foundation. Previously, the department had one AED to share between four cars, which was over twenty years old. With its location between Angola and Dekalb, Hamilton PD are often the first to arrive at a scene. However, if the car with the AED was at a different location, the officers would be unable to do much without additional help. “An AED is one of the tools we use the most with our older population,” explained Sergeant Thomas Frederick (pictured with one of the AEDs purchased). With a grant of $2,390 from the Hamilton Fund, they purchased two AEDs for their night shift cars. The machines are considered semi-automatic, so they verbally guide the user through the process. This allows the officer on the scene to, if needed, take care of other concerns while someone else without the training can confidently use the life saving device. “For a family to see that we have the tools to help a loved one, it gives us peace of mind in a medical situation and helps them feel more at ease," said Sgt. Frederick. The grant is another step in the process as Hamilton Police Department grows. Funding for the remaining AED’s has been committed by REMC’s Operation Round Up.

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